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Amazon's Echo: a $200, Multi-Function, Audio-Centric Device

edremy Re:Amazon has officially gone Google (129 comments)

Is it? My understanding is that AWS is in large part the excess capacity Amazon needs for peak times, so otherwise the hardware sits around unused. AWS is just getting something out of that. Am I wrong here?

about three weeks ago
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Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

edremy Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (287 comments)

No, you compare to an average of the driving populace, not the best or worst. Why? Because that's what the insurance companies are going to do. When it becomes obvious that SDCs are better drivers than humans, you're going to start seeing a serious push to let the bots take over.

I don't think it's going to take anywhere near as long as people think. There's a *huge* market for this. My grandmother in law is 93. She basically can't drive, but wants to stay in her house. My wife's in the hospital right now and I have two kids that need to be different places at the same time. One of my old teachers is blind, etc, etc SDC taxi pools can act like super-flexible mass transit for areas that don't have any

about a month ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

edremy Re:Swift must be a good programming language... (305 comments)

You're assuming they could use search and replace. Given my experience with HR (and lots of other people) that's a serious stretch.

about a month and a half ago
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Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

edremy Re:Not just iPhone (421 comments)

They also have curved backs. I had thought it was just for show, but perhaps not. I haven't managed to bend my M7 yet, and I'm not sure I could.

about 2 months ago
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Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

edremy Re:Third option (421 comments)

I had assumed the curved back on my HTC One was just for show, but perhaps the designers were actually thinking this way. It's way harder to bend a curved surface than a flat one.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?

edremy Re:Ditch the smartboard (96 comments)

Don't diss the Surface Pro. Yes, it is *absolutely* a better solution. No, you can't replace it with an iPad- the iPad is like fingerpainting compared to the fine detail you get on a Surface. And why would you want to buy an additional Wacom tablet when the Surface uses a Wacom digitzer in the first place? You can write directly on the Surface rather than trying to master the blind writing skill you need with an external tablet. And if there's a tablet+pen interface better than OneNote on a Mac or Linux let me know, because I've yet to see it.

We've been buying more and more of them lately simply because they work so bloody well for this sort of task.

/Waiting for the "Troll" downmods I get everytime I mention that they are far nicer than most people realize.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

edremy Our Associate VP of IT (392 comments)

has a Ph.D. in 17th century English literature. Admittedly we do work at a college, but you might be surprised at what humanists are doing these days: he got into the computer side of things while building databases of who was sending who letters around then. Digital Humanities is a growing field, and one that has some interesting CS applications- you've got things like Mallet chewing through vast swathes of literature looking for correlations, you have folks building high end digital maps to look into questions of how sight lines affected historical battles, etc.

about 2 months ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

edremy Re:Learn Coldfusion (387 comments)

Heh- a large chunk of our timesheet system where I work as well as departmental budgets is all done within a custom portal written in.... ColdFusion. We're slowly moving away from bits of it (The helpdesk ticketing/inventory control parts are gone now) but I can't see it dying completely within the next decade.

about 3 months ago
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Did you use technology to get into mischief as a child?

edremy What technology? (231 comments)

If you're talking computers, my neighbor got a hard copy terminal when I was about 8- it was hooked up by phone line to the mainframe at work and printed on green bar paper. Hacking wasn't much of an option. "Technology" to my generation probably would have been a 4-barrel carb or a tube guitar amp.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

edremy Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (311 comments)

If it's out there someone is going to steal it.

Simple, no? Blame the victim all you want, but that line of thinking pretty quickly devolves into unplugging from the Internet and trying to pay your bills with physical cash.

Only if you miss the point.

.... No -- the real world has jerks in it. It's sad. And it's terrible that good people have to be restricted in their actions because of it, but that's what living in the real world is like. So, you can do online finance, but you take reasonable precautions... like using strong passwords and not posting your financial data on the internet for anyone to see. If you are likely to be a hacking target -- like a rich person with lots of financial stuff, or a famous actress with nudey photos of yourself -- you may want to go up a few more levels in terms of precaution.

Except that these people didn't post their information on the internet for everyone to see. They uploaded the photos (possibly without their knowledge, since they might not really understand iCloud) to what they thought was a secure account. From Apple's own page on iCloud: "With iCloud, you can share exactly what you want, with exactly whom you want." It was only Apple's piss-poor understanding of security that allowed the accounts to be brute forced.

Should they have used better passwords, or better reset questions? Sure, but I bet that 75% of Etrade account passwords could be brute forced using the same script if Etrade allowed it. Hell, I only updated mine a year or so ago since it was 10 digits long and I figured that wasn't enough anymore

I'm actually really annoyed at the focus on the "Don't upload nude selfies" bit. The foci in this story should be 1) Don't trust cloud vendors. 1a) Especially Apple 2) Push for better multi-factor authentication systems on *everything*- cloud photo accounts, checking accounts, ATMs, etc.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

edremy Re:At the risk of blaming the victim... (311 comments)

If you don't want people stealing your money don't store money online. Don't use credit/debit cards, an online brokerage account, web access to your checking account, etc. If it's out there someone is going to steal it.

Simple, no? Blame the victim all you want, but that line of thinking pretty quickly devolves into unplugging from the Internet and trying to pay your bills with physical cash.

about 3 months ago
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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

edremy Re:Most open communities get turned into cesspools (239 comments)

Except, of course, I did mention specifically why it was very good for those things- high resolution digitizer, full computer with access to huge library of programs, OneNote, etc. But I said something positive about MS, and thus I'm a troll. It's not the first time it's happened to me, while I watch content-free Linux propaganda in the same thread get +5 informative. (And now of course I get an AC trying to defend the bias...)

Back in the days when Slashdot was actually somewhat relevant, the bias was well known and the source of much amusement at other sites. Now it's just sad.

about 3 months ago
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Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

edremy Re:Most open communities get turned into cesspools (239 comments)

I'll give Slashdot some credit, it has actually managed to avoid crap like that comparatively well. Maybe it's the liberal use of anonymous posting here, or the more limited moderation system. Regardless, Slashdot is a clean and friendly place to have open discussion, at least compared to Hacker News, reddit, Wikipedia and Stack Overflow.

I find this comment amusing, since every time I mention Microsoft in any form of positive light I'm downmodded. I mentioned the MS Surface the other day and commented that it was proving a very nice tool for developing online learning materials. Downmodded instantly as "Troll"

Slashdot has serious groupthink issues and always has.

about 3 months ago
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New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

edremy Re:External expansion through USB (215 comments)

Hmm, I have USB ports on my Chromebooks too, and USB drives, mice and the like work fine. Even Wacom tablets are supported as of last June. Oh, and HDMI ports as well. Webcam's built in. Printers aren't a problem either- the stuff just runs through your local router, it's not like it bounces off a remote server. I'm not sure what ISP you're on where you have a monthly limit, but if you're in that boat a network based thin client isn't exactly a smart choice anyway. Most dads aren't looking for high end sound cards and state of the art games.

And if you really want Linux, run Crouton.

About 90% of what you want is available on a Chromebook. If you need something in the 10%, well, buy a PC, but don't be surprised when a lot of people might not have the same use cases as you do. I have a home PC, but the Chromebook is awesome for simple, cheap and light- bulletproof laptop for the kids, and fun to type on the couch while watching Cosmos. (And I've been using my Chromecast to pull up Youtube videos expanding on some points for the wife afterwards.)

about 3 months ago
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New HP Laptop Would Mean Windows at Chromebook Prices

edremy Re:Needs grow (215 comments)

A decent Chromebook is ~$200. How many upgrades can you make to a machine for that total cost? (And in the laptop world, a cheap laptop isn't going to have squat for expandability anyway)

As an added bonus, when it does come time for a new $200 Chromebook, setup will take less than a minute for him to type his WiFi password and log into it. Everything else is automagically there.

about 3 months ago
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Are Altcoins Undermining Bitcoin's Credibility?

edremy Re:Bitcoin credibility? (267 comments)

The Altarian Dollar, the Flainian Pobble Bead and the Triganic Pu are all perfectly credible currencies.

about 3 months ago
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Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?

edremy Why not community college rather than online? (81 comments)

Speaking as a guy who works in educational technology, send her to a CC instead of trying to find stuff online. The local CC will be dirt cheap, will have classes at odd hours if she needs to work, will have in-person instruction and will most likely have transfer agreements with lots of schools as well as a process for vetting with ones that don't automatically accept their credits. They also have to meet standards of teaching that are certified by accreditors with long histories in evaluating schools.

Online education has a lot of promise in various areas, but don't always assume it's the best tool

about 3 months ago
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Sony Tosses the Sony Reader On the Scrap Heap

edremy Re:One mistake Sony Made (172 comments)

I actually tested a couple of ereaders back in the dawn of the e-ink versions for educational use, including the Sony ones.

They sucked. Utterly sucked. Equation formatting was laughably bad. Footnoting was dismal. Diagrams/graphs/pictures were far too small to see and magnify worked poorly (and of course there was no color). Writing text notes was a pain, and bookmarking was far too slow compared to page flipping. PDFs didn't format/reflow/do much of anything right.

It's not all that much better today. I love my Kindle, but I read novels and the like on it. Professional reading is almost always paper text. I've done e-textbooks on an iPad which handles equations and diagrams better, but it's still clunky compared to paper.

about 4 months ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 With Bing To Sell Cheaper Devices

edremy Re:Customers will decide the Surface Fate (124 comments)

Flip side: our department has bought a bunch and will be buying more in the future. For developing online learning materials, a Surface + Camtasia simply blows away everything else out there- a full PC capable of running all Windows software + every bizarre web thing out there, with a high resolution pen and OneNote. You can even edit the resulting video directly on the machine.

about 6 months ago
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Google Announces "Classroom"

edremy Re:Another misfit project? (143 comments)

Yeah, well, have to looked at iPod sales lately? Falling like a stone; so bad, in fact, that Apple's rumored to be cancelling it altogether. Clearly /. is just a bit ahead of the curve.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Blackboard will acquire Angel Learning

edremy edremy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

edremy (36408) writes "The 900-pound gorilla of learning management systems, Blackboard, announced that it will take over Angel Learning one of its last competitors in the commercial arena. Blackboard is well known for buying out (and killing) WebCT, Prometheus and other LMSes as well as sueing Desire2Learn over basic LMS functionality. This leaves behind a few small commercial companies and a variety of open source tools such as Moodle and Sakai which have been growing rapidly."
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Are online journals damaging science?

edremy edremy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

edremy (36408) writes "You would think that the availability of powerful search engines and online, full text databases would increase the depth and breadth of science research. According to a paper in this week's Science (Abstract available here) which compares citations for ~34 million papers over the last 60 years, you'd be wrong. Papers written in the electronic age cite newer papers on the whole, and the overall number of papers in a journal that get cited at all plummets. It's not entirely clear why this should be, but the efficiency of modern indices may tend to narrow people's searching: you lose the "Hmm, what's this other article about?" serendipity that helps find those articles that might be useful but not exactly what you wanted."
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Blackboard wins patent infringement suit

edremy edremy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

edremy (36408) writes "Learning management system maker Blackboard has won its initial suit against Desire2Learn. Blackboard gets $3.1 million and can demand that Desire2Learn stop US sales.

For those not familiar with the suit, you can get the details here. Blackboard has been granted a patent that covers a single person having multiple roles in an LMS: for example, a TA might be a student in one class and an instructor in another. You wouldn't think something this obvious could even be patented, but so far it's been a very effective weapon for BB, badly hurting D2L and generating a huge amount of worry for the few remaining commercial LMSes that BB has not already bought and open source solutions such as Moodle."

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